Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tackling climate change may lessen Central African Republic conflict risks

Katherine Johnson in Forests News, a blog by the Center for International Forestry Research: Strengthening the capacity of the Central African Republic to adapt to climate change could help build peace in the landlocked country, which has been hampered by political instability and civil conflict since it achieved independence from France in 1960, research suggests.

Projected estimates indicate that temperatures in Central African Republic could increase by 1.5 to 2.75 degrees Celsius (2.7 to 4.95 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2080, according to a report published in “Climate and Development” by scientists working with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Between 1978 and 2009, temperatures increased in the sub-Saharan African country on average by 0.3 degrees C per decade, while rainfall decreased on average by about 1.9 cm (three-quarters of an inch) per year from 1978 to 2009, the report said, citing statistics from the World Bank.

Developing the ability to adapt to climate change can be a strategic part of the process of reconstruction and reconciliation while playing a central role in meeting development targets, the paper said. “By building adaptive capacity, you’re really taking care of some of the development issues, and by bringing people together in a genuinely participatory process, you can really contribute to reducing the conflict and tension within the country,” said Denis Sonwa, a scientist and agro-ecologist at CIFOR.

The new research was conducted in Central African Republic, which the United Nations has said is on the verge of becoming a failed state as it struggles with a humanitarian crisis caused by recent civil conflict. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, according to the U.N. Development Programme‘s Human Development Index.

The study, “Institutional perceptions, adaptive capacity and climate change response in a post-conflict country: a case study from Central African Republic”, highlights the ways climate change is affecting the nation of 4.6 million people — in particular the rural poor who form the majority of the population — and identifies barriers to action....

A satellite image of the Ubangi River in the Central African Republic

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